Singapore Real Estate Rental House Condos Classifieds Singapore Housing -
EXPATRIATES' ANALYSIS sponsored by Asiahomes Internet,
Blk 1002,Toa Payoh Lorong 8, #01-1477, Singapore 319074.
Tel: (65) 9668 6468, 254 2728. Fax: (65) 256 0501. Email:

Ref: 811101
Subject: Realtors, Unscrupulous. Flogging above-market housing
Location: City/Central
For Rent: Detached + pool, SIME ROAD $8K, SWETTENHAM RD $11K, NASSIM ROAD, $9.5K

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Why Expats Analysis

Date of report: October 31, 1998
From: Anne Brocklebank
To: Expatriate Tenants

This column reports on Singapore housing issues from the perspective of the Expatriates. The first article deals with expatriates' anger at Realtors who "rented" them above-market accommodation.

The email below is a typical perception of some expatriates residing in Singapore and looking for another accommodation. Usually, they had a bad experience of the realtor who got their first housing.

At 04:09 PM 10/28/98 +0800, you wrote:


Have just been browsing the classifieds and seen a house (ref: 160196) that you are the agents for. Please could you call my on 463-… to discuss and possibly arrange a viewing.

We also saw your ad for a Swettenham Bungalow, posted on 16/9/98, which has now been removed. My wife called your office this afternoon and learnt that it was number …... We may like to look at this, but the person she spoke to said that we wouldn't be interested as it wasn't new. This attitude is surprising given that you don't know what are looking for.

We may be interested in a house from 1st December and are keen to start looking shortly. We have lived in Singapore for 8 years and know what sort of thing is available and also know that the market is very soft and we should be able to get something nice for our money. We are looking for 4 bedroom of larger semi/detached houses ideally with a pool. Needs to be in the Holland Road vicinity. We are currently living near Sixth Avenue. We do not have a particular budget but would look to pay the right price for the right house. I am tired of agents trying to show me rubbish at well above the market price simply because I am a foreigner and they work towards some theoretical budget that an employer may have suggested. I hope you understand what I mean. We will be deciding on whether to stay in Singapore for another couple of years, in a few weeks time, and are looking for a reliable agent that won't waste our time. If you think you could help, please call me.



Findings: The Realtor recommended housing which had been found to be "above market" rent. Since the Realtor's income depends on performance, the higher the rent, the more income he gets from the Landlord. Many Singapore Rental Realtors will warn expatriates that he will be paying too much rent for the particular housing if they are in for the long-term relations which will lead to referrals.

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Expats relocating to Singapore use this website frequently as a starting point (see "About Asiahomes Internet" as it is full of information and photographs on Singapore rental housing. You have 90 days

As regards "rubbish" housing seen by the writer, it is most likely that his rental budget for a house with a pool is below $10,000. As at November 1, 1998, although the Singapore's rental market is declining, there are few, if any, bungalows with pool in prime area (Holland Road) where most expats reside, in decent move-in condition at sub-$10,000 rent.

There is no "market-rental" for detached with pool because of a shortfall of quality ones in expat enclave areas of District 9, 10 and 11. Generally, the rental asked is above $10,000 if there are no disadvantages such as construction activity, graveyards or main road proximity.

Surfers wanting to rent affordable homes,
call (65) 9668 6468, 254 2728, fax (65) 256 0501, or email to

As at November 1, 1998, Asia USA has had negotiated for an American family the following detached + pool for rent.

  1. Sime Road detached + pool, 5+2, 5000 sf built-up, 10000sf land, S$8,000. Cul-de-sac.
  2. Development of 10 units of detached occupied by expatriates. Some don't mind the dead. Value for money. Lovely big garden to relax and for putting a trampoline for American kids. Patio to admire mature trees and tranquil scene while kids splash around in big pool.

    Why so cheap? Near non-active cemetery land but there is plenty of green spaces for pet dogs, cul-de-sac for kids to cycle. Not so new but renovated baths.

  3. Swettenham Road detached + pool, 4+1, 5,400 sf built-up, 12,000 sf land, S$10,000 "as it is". Cul-de-sac.
  4. Top multi-millionaire area where detacheds have over 20000 sf land and rent from $20,000 - $30,000. The Minister lives 4 houses away. Wake up to birds and floral fragance. Big pool, privacy, long driveway, prestige.

    Why so cheap? Old terrazo flooring with cracks, leaking roofs in one bedroom, green and old jacuzzi long bath in dated tiling with green ceramic floor tile. Yellow baths in another bedroom. After seeing marble flooring and new white long baths in brand new houses, most expatriates' wives will not want to live here. The Owner does not want to upgrade unless the rent is higher and that breaks the camel's back (rental budget). Upgrading costs at least $80,000 and takes a couple of months. An English family with a $15,000 budget from the company had leased it till yesterday.

  5. Nassim Road detached + pool, 4+1, 4,000 sf built-up, 16,000 sf land, S$13,000 was asking offer. Cul-de-sac.

Asia USA managed to negotiate to an offer of $9,500 partially furnished (fridge, washing machine, dryer, curtains and lightings). 2 minutes' drive to Orchard Road, Tanglin Mall and you live in prime area which is dotted with foreign embassies. House is up a very short uphill slope and is surrounded by green trees, as if you are living in a tropical jungle. Pool is of decent size. Not much garden but big patio to entertain.

Why so cheap? As with above 2, the house is not brand new but this is in a much better condition than the Swettenham Road and is in a more prestigious location - waking distance to Orchard Road although the Swettenham Road detached is 1.5 km from Orchard Road and opposite the Botanic Gardens. Maybe the Landlord just wants to rent it out fast and this may be a good reason as the house is in a decent condition, according to our client.

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